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UN independent expert on summary executions to visit Ukraine

GENEVA (7 September 2015) – The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions will visit Ukraine to assess the level of protection of the right to life in the country following the outbreak of the crisis in early 2014.

The Special Rapporteur, Christof Heyns, will visit the country from 9 to 18 September 2015, at the invitation of the Government.

“In the 19 months since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, a number of events have affected the realization of human rights, including the violence in Maidan and Odesa, the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea*; and the escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine” Heyns, said.  “An essential aspect of my visit is to focus on the current violence in the country, including allegations of unlawful killings, custodial deaths, attacks and intimidation of activists, journalists or political opponents, abductions, and excessive use of force by armed forces, law enforcement agencies and armed groups.”

The Special Rapporteur will look at the measures in place to ensure justice and accountability for these violations and to protect individuals from further attacks to their life, security and physical integrity. He will also examine the legal framework and existing practices in connection with the use of force.

Heyns said he looked forward to assisting the Ukrainian Government in coping with some of the challenges it faces regarding these issues and in finding solutions that uphold the rule of law, promote accountability for human rights violations and fulfil victims’ rights to reparation.

During the nine-day visit, the human rights expert will meet with high-ranking officials, as well as various UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations, and civil society representatives in Ukraine. The independent expert will visit Kyiv, Odesa, Mariupol and Kramatorsk. In eastern Ukraine, Heyns will also visit areas under the control of armed groups. Heyns will present his final report on the visit to the Ukraine to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2016.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on 18 September 2015, at 11:30 am, at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre, Ukrainian house, European Square
2 Khreshchatyk Street, Kyiv, Ukraine, to share his preliminary findings with the media.


* The status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is prescribed by General Assembly resolution 68/262

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Christof Heyns (South Africa), is a director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, where he has also directed the Centre for Human Rights, and has engaged in wide-reaching initiatives on human rights in Africa. He has advised a number of international, regional and national entities on human rights issues. As Special Rapporteur, Mr. Heyns is independent from any government or organisation and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/SRExecutionsIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact: In Geneva, Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / bvukovic@ohchr.org). In Kyiv: Sergii Kurnosenko (+380 95 275 27 13 / skurnosenko@ohchr.org) or Jon Izagirre García (+41(0) 797520485 / jizagirre@ohchr.org) or log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/SRExecutionsIndex.aspx

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